SEBRING – In celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Florida State Parks, the
Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Highlands Hammock State
Park held the 25th Annual Civilian Conservation Corps Festival today. The event
commemorates and reunites the individuals of President Roosevelt’s Civilian
Conservation Corps (CCC) who worked to build America’s state and national parks
during the 1930s.
“Without the CCC, many of Florida’s great state parks would not be so rich in
natural and cultural history that we have recognized all year long during the
75th Anniversary,” said Florida State Parks Director Donald Forgione. “We are
pleased to continue to acknowledge this event as the 25th annual celebration in
which we have honored the individuals of the CCC.”
The first CCC camp was established in June 1934 at what is now Highlands
Hammock State Park, known at the time as Camp SP-3. In 1934, a CCC camp began
working on a botanical garden project adjacent to Highlands Hammock Park, after
its municipal opening in 1931. When the Florida Park Service was established in
1935 by the Florida Legislature, the garden project and the park properties were
merged and became Highlands Hammock State Park. The botanical garden project was
abandoned after World War II, but the history of this time is interpreted in the
state CCC Museum located within the park.
Today, festival goers enjoyed arts and crafts vendors, an antique car show.
Live music and entertainment, children's activities, wildlife exhibits, tram
tours, hayrides and festival foods were also a crowd favorite. A special CCC
reunion brought in park creators to share memories of time gone past.
Florida State Parks recognizes the debt it owes to the men who contributed
their labor and lives to the construction of Florida's first state parks. The
State Civilian Conservation Corps Museum was established and opened at Highlands
Hammock State Park in 1994 and upgraded in 2003 to commemorate their
About Florida State Parks Created in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, the
Florida State Park system has grown from eight to 160 parks in the last 75
years. Today, the Florida Park Service manages more than 700,000 acres of
Florida’s natural environment, including 100 miles of beaches, eight National
Historic Landmarks and 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places.
Florida State Parks has been recognized by the National Recreation and Park
Association as the nation’s first and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the
nation’s best park service. For more information about Florida’s state parks,